The big press release has brought not only a ton of new actors to fill the better half of the remaining roles in season one, but new director names as well. First, we have series directors Daniel Minahan and Alan Taylor. It is as of yet unknown what episodes they are going to be in charge of. Second, there are two directors of photography that we have not yet heard about in connection with Thrones, Marco Pontecorvo and Alik Sakharov. They are trusted HBO veterans, the lot of them.
Minahan signed under a number of episodes of Six Feet Under, Deadwood, John from Cincinnati, and True Blood, plus has some non-HBO credits on the side, naturally. Taylor’s resume reads similarly only longer, with Oz, Six Feet Under, Sex and the City, Carnivale, Deadwood, The Sopranos, Boardwalk Empire, In Treatment, Bored to Death on HBO, as well as episodes of Lost and Mad Men. He won an Emmy in 2007 for The Sopranos.
Pontecorvo and Sakharov are both of foreign stock. Marco Pontecorvo was born in Italy as son of the director Gillo Pontecorvo. His has worked mostly as the director of photography on Italian projects, but also on some international productions. Most notably on Rome (9 episodes) shot in the Cinecitta studios in Rome, Italy, which is apparently when and where his connection to HBO was established. They must have liked his work. Alik Sakharov is originally from Tashkent in the former USSR, now Uzbekistan, but has started and established his career in the U.S. He directed an episode of Rome and had a role in one episode of The Sopranos. His main body of work, however, has been done as the director of photography, again the great majority of it on big HBO titles: Sex and the City, Rome (9 episodes), The Sopranos (38! episodes). Sakharov won an Emmy in 2007 for cinematography on Rome.
In addition, here are some extra tidbits:
- Northern Ireland Screen published an urgent call for male riders with dark complexion, surely for Dothraki. An open casting is to be held on July 21st. On a related note, Extras NI has sent around an e-mail looking for a under-5ft tall stand-in who would be available for the period of the next five months. A likely reason is that they need someone to be the stand-in for Peter Dinklage on the show.
- The fact sheet officially confirms Conan Stevens as Gregor Clegane. No more leaked names still waiting to sign the contract, then. On the other hand, the announcement fails to list Iain McNeice as Magister Illyrio Mopatis. The speculation is that his is the minor role not from the prologue which may need to be recast according to GRRM.
- Something that may have been lost in the excitement of all the casting news of the fact sheet is the revelation that they will no longer be filming in Morocco, but have added Malta as a location. Malta seems like a good choice as it’s mix of European, Mediterranean and African architecture should provide for a diverse set of Westeros backdrops. If they do reshoot the Dany scenes here, it could make a good Pentos.
Hear Me Roar: These directors share an great big deal of experience between them, and are trusted names of HBO productions. Based on their previos record, they are sure to bring the deserved quality to Game of Thrones as well. Can you find your favourite episodes of HBO shows among their work? When it comes to McNeice, I hope they find some way to bring him back, he only appears in a few scenes.
UPDATE: You can find lots of great photos of possible filming locations on Malta here.